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Doctors in training have traditionally been encouraged to use portfolios to support personal development and provide evidence of their achievements. Until recently, portfolios have generally consisted of a file containing a variety of paperwork and certificates with varying degrees of organisation. There has been little standardisation between portfolios, although many are based on common themes. The 2008 Gold Guide (A Guide for Postgraduate Specialty Training in the UK)1 now formalises the requirement for all trainees to maintain a specialty-specific portfolio containing evidence of personal development and learning, educational appraisal, achievement of competencies and annual review.
Following the implementation of the European Working Time Directive,2 there has been a considerable reduction in working hours without the lengthening of training programmes. It is therefore imperative that trainees can ensure they maximise their learning from potentially reduced clinical exposure. With the recognition of their benefits, portfolios are becoming increasingly used throughout medical education both as a learning tool and to aid assessment and appraisal.
Current trainees, who may have had little or no previous experience with portfolios, are required to complete a quality portfolio in order to demonstrate their progress for the ARCP (Annual Review of Competence and Progress). They will need the support of their educational supervisors, who will not only have to understand and provide support for the trainee ePortfolio but also maintain their own as part of the General Medical Council process for revalidation.
As part of the Specialty Training interview, portfolios are assessed, and this occurs increasingly at consultant interviews. Therefore, the compilation of a high-quality product is vital to success, as well as ensuring ongoing revalidation. In this article, we will look at effective ways of using a portfolio as both a trainee and supervisor, not only to ensure successful training progression but also to demonstrate …
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Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.